For The Love Of Star Wars.

I went to see Rogue One and thought it excellent. For me the first in the franchise to really address that it’s all about war…which then inspired this poem.

FOR THE LOVE OF STAR WARS.

Not so long a time ago,
In a galaxy where we stay.
An empire rose and then it fell.
Some rebels had their day.
One world war.
Two world wars.
Have three and then it’s see ya.
War’s an endless franchise.
Like Luke and Han and Leia.
The need to end such turmoil,
Cannot enough be stressed.
If only Presidents and Prime Ministers
with Jedi rational were blessed.
They lied about a phantom menace
in the rubble of Iraq.
We got the oil, a million dead.
An empire striking back.
Despite it all the people fight.
Here’s bloodshed and defiance.
Like Obi Wan in desert sands,
a Persian rebel alliance.
Are we as a moment now at our end of rope.
Or can a fairy tale inspire,
and bring us a new hope.
So when you hear of refugees
From Syria to Mogadishu.
Spare their blasted lives a thought,
and may the force be with you.

An Imagined Syrian Refugee.

For a writing exercise we were to create a background for a central character. I imagined a Syrian refugee. All of this background is fiction but comes from research I did on the situation…

 

CHRISTIAN SHAMMAS (A Syrian refugee)

Christian Shammas is a 22 year old Syrian refugee. His mother Camila Abdel-Massih (surname means servant of Christ in the Arabic world) was a Palestinian Christian who fled to Syria as a child with her wealthy parentsduring the 1967 war. His father Tabarank Shammas is an Syrian Arab and Sunni Muslim. His father is from poorer farming heritage.
Although interdenominational marriages are not unheard of in Syria they are not common. His mixed faith upbringing led to bullying as a child.
Christians first name in the Arabic tradition means love and his surname means friendship. He likes to introduce himself by pointing this out.
Before having to flee his hometown of Damascus in 2015 he was studying dentistry.  He is fluent in English and French. (Both popular second languages in Syria although English is preferred.)
Despite being very well educated Christian is profoundly dyslexic which leads to huge problems for him when he has to flee the country.
During the Arab spring of 2013 he was arrested by Bashar al-Assad security forces with 13’000 other online activists and severely tortured leading to him walking with a severe limp.
He has a seven year old sister Mary Shammas who is entirely uneducated in any formal way.
During some carpet bombing Christian and his sister were separated from his parents. He doesn’t know if they are alive or dead. He has no idea which side was behind the bombing but is determined to find out.
As a refugee in Syria he is recognised by two of Assad’s secret police who threaten to rape his sister. He kills them both with a pistol he found in some ruins.
This forces him to flee the country with his sister with money he has stashed. He makes it to “The Jungle” refugee camp in France which is where we find him.
The only physical possessions he has apart from the clothes on his back is an I-pod and charger. The I-pod is filled with the poems of Syrian poet and Nobel Prize nominee Adunis.
He quotes this poetry often to his sister when she is distressed. The I-Pod is also filled with songs by Elvis. Listening to Elvis also helps calm his sister.
Whilst at the camp his young sister is being targeted by human traffickers.
The camp is now to be demolished and to protect his sister Christian agrees to have her moved to the UK. He has no idea how to contact her once this happens. Christian is to remain stranded in France. Whilst at the camp he befriends a Syrian man named Sayid Burhan who helps him with daily life. For the journey to the UK he entrusts his sister to Sayid.   Unbeknownst to Christian he is the leader of a child trafficking group. Christian finds out the truth a day after he last sees his sister.
Some Quotes.
 “To the country dug into our lives like a grave, to the country etherized, and killed, a sun rises from our paralyzed history into our millennial sleep” ― Ali Ahmad Said Asbar Adunis
“What did we lose, what was lost in us? To whom do these distances belong that separated us and that now bind us? Are we still one or have we both broken into pieces? How gentle this dust is- Its body now, and mine, at this very minute are one and the same” ― Adonis, If Only the Sea Could Sleep
 “If only we were not that seedling of Creation, Of Earth and its generations, If only we had remained simple Clay or Ember, Or something in between, Then we would not have to see This World, its Lord, and its Hell, twice over.” ― Adonis

The REAL news episode 2. Poverty. (With special guest Zoe Williams)

In the interests of truth and in reaction to the bullshit perpetrated by our established media,  I’ve decided to start posting regular news columns here on the blog. They will hopefully be a mixture of information and some funnies. Please share far and wide…

  1. GET IT TOGETHER. (WHY WE DESERVE BETTER POLITICS)

Our first item comes from the pages of Zoe Williams excellent book Get it together (why we deserve better politics.)   

Poverty is a thing in this country. The UK is the most financially unequal country in Northern Europe, containing the richest area -inner London- and fully 9 of the 10 poorest areas (the only one of the bottom ten not in the UK is Hainaut, in Belgium) the poorest 20 per cent in the UK are poorer than any of their equivalents in North Western Europe (closer to the poor of Slovenia and the Czech Republic). Average wages have dropped 4% since 2010 and had been flat since 2003. Since 2008, real median weekly wages-income determined by its purchasing power; that is, a calculation of wages relative to prices – have fallen by 10.2 %: only wages in Greece have fallen by more. Our train fares are the highest in Europe, we have the second highest levels of fuel poverty. Don’t get me started on housing. As of 2014 after housing costs, 14.6 million people were in poverty – this is 23.2 per cent of the population, and 3.5 million of them are children (this is slightly over one in four kids). One in five families cannot afford a trip to their nearest beach.  900’000 thousand people went to the Trussell Trust in 2013 alone for food, and this is not the only food bank chain in the country.

Poverty in this country has been rising since the 1980s. We’ve been patching it up with personal debt, which went up three and a half times faster than national income in between 1977 and 2008.  But all of us – from the office for Budget Responsibility, to the Centre For Social Justice (a right wing think tank), to the Resolution Foundation ( a left wing think tank), the churches, to the schools, to the activists, to the person standing behind the person at a cashpoint who’s freaking out – we all know it’s there. It’s like a suppurating wound; it hurts, and often we can smell it. Yet something stops us from taking off the dressing and having a proper look.

EDITORS NOTE (that bit about us being able to smell it is very middle class…but we’ll let her off…she’s onside)

Conservatives who like to style themselves ‘caring’ won’t talk about poverty because they don’t think it’s real. Authentic poverty, to them, is the international measure of living on $1.25 a day; it’s the difference between being able to afford clean water and losing your children to cholera. It’s the gulf between subsistence and aspiration, the 50 cents between just about holding it together so that you don’t starve and getting at least one of your children to a point of literacy. That is true poverty, and anything else going by the name is a masquerade. Don’t complain that you’re hungry until you are starving. Don’t complain about work place conditions until you’re in Bangladesh and a building has fallen on your head. In other words, don’t complain until you are dead.

2. THE GOVERNMENT  RESPONSE TO POVERTY.

Well thanks for that Zoe and now some thoughts from the conservatives…

DAVID CAMERON SAYS (genuine quote)

MEME 8

SUICIDE RATES….

Under the present government suicide rates have soared. the government response to this…

rmeme 6

OSBORN.

In an effort to appear more down to earth George Osborn recently claimed to be a regular player of Bingo. A Newcastle resident said, “Yeah we’ve all been playing Tory bingo. Everyone is desperate for a full house so we don’t get hammered by the bedroom tax.”  

In a fresh upset it turns out many politicians have a second job – It’s called being an MP.

TRUE STORY. BENEFITS.

A man in Oldham had his benefits stopped for failing to complete a work capability assessment. Our viewers are probably thinking, ‘nothing wrong with that’, however the reason he didn’t complete the assessment is because during it he had a heart attack. EDs NOTE…(This isn’t satire this bit this is 100% TRUE)

attack 2

AND FINALLY…IAN DUNCAN SMITH

Ian Duncan Smith says he wants the disabled to work their way out of poverty. Despite many disabled people being able to work. It’s rumoured he recently put his foot on a drowning man to see if he’d grow gills.

3. THE WAR ON TERROR.

News just in…The war on terror has now been officially declared as successful as the war on drugs. Zoo-zoologists have announced, “Perhaps we should have a war on pandas…and then they’d be everywhere.”

THE WAR. A SUMMARRY.

Recently we initially armed some ‘rebels’ to overthrow the Syrian government, unfortunately they turned out to be ISIS. ISIS are a direct result of our wars on the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Iraq. Now we’re forming a coalition with the Taliban to overthrow ISIS and help keep the Syrian government in place. Medal of Honour was never this confusing.

Never mind here’s a photo of a sexy Fox news reader.fox news 1

That’s just what people want when they’re watching genocide…To be sexually aroused.